Goebbels' maxim is a saying commonly attributed to Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister to Hitler during Nazi Germany.
Though the actual text of the saying varies depending on the account, the premise of the maxim is: if one tells a big enough lie, and repeatedly states it with absolute conviction, the likelihood exists that eventually the masses will believe it to be truth. The Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin had a similar statement to Goebbels' maxim, "A lie told often enough becomes the truth."
Goebbels' maxim and Propagandists
Demagogues, dictators, and fanatical ideologists all try to convince audiences that their reasoning is logical and sound. In reality, they abuse logic, twist, slant, and distort the reasoning process in whatever ways they believe they can without detection. Some of these speakers believe that the bigger the misrepresentation they can get away with, the greater the triumph. Since propagandists have already made up their minds, they are not really searching for truth. Such people do not attempt to use logic in an honest search for truth, but only with the intent to deceive more effectively.
- David Robertson (2008). The Dawkins Letters: Challenging the Atheist Myths. Christian Focus Publications, 61. ISBN 978-1-84550-261-4.
- Jerry Bergman (2012). Hitler and the Nazi Darwinian Worldview: How the Nazi Eugenic Crusade for a Superior Race Caused the Greatest Holocaust in World History. Joshua Press, 195. ISBN 978-1-894400-49-7. “Goebbels...His chief propaganda theory was "the Big Lie": if something is repeated often enough, people will believe it no matter how false. This technique worked very well in disenfranchising Jews. Goebbels took control of, not only the press, but also radio, film, theather, music, literature, and publishing, purging Jews and all opposition to Nazism from them.”
- (1993) A Christian's Guide to Critical Thinking. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 183–4. ISBN 1-59752-661-4. Retrieved on 16 February 2012.